02/12/2013 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Zeinab Badawi.


Increasing pressure on the Ukrainian president to resign, as protesters


begin sealing off parts of the capital, Kiev. They have barricaded


Independence Square and government buildings in anger at a decision to


back away from the trade deal with the EU.


Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, is for the first time directly


accused of war crimes by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner.


But will the evidence against him ever go to trial?


Also coming up: British Olympic hero Tom Daley says he is in a


relationship with another man. What impact will this have on his career?


I think people will make a big deal of this. Is it a big deal? I don't


think so. And we will hear from Ivorian


midfielder Yaya Tour, this year's winner of the BBC African footballer


of the year. Hello and welcome. A tense standoff


is underway over Ukraine's future in the capital, Kiev. Thousands of


demonstrators have gathered for fresh protests, while other


activists are barricaded inside city hall. The unrest was triggered at


Ukraine's 11th hour decision to back away from a deal which would ensure


closer ties with the European Union. This is the scene in the capital,


Kiev. Protesters are entrenched inside City Hall and have put up


barricades. Protesters now want President Viktor Yanukovich to


resign. People power on display in Kiev.


Protesters took to the streets to paralyse their government. They set


up roadblocks to stop officials getting to work. At government


headquarters, no door was left unguarded. It will be our victory if


they don't come inside. Protesters occupy Independence Square. They're


demanding closer links with Europe instead of Russia. Thousands spent


the night here. They spent all might building barricades using large


pieces of wood and metal. This is to stop police moving onto the square.


Yesterday, there are violent clashes between riot police and protesters.


More than 100 were injured. The opposition is demanding that the


president resign. But these demonstrators told me they are not


surprised. TRANSLATION: Whenever people take to the streets, our


president runs away. He is a coward. Not everyone in this country wants


closer links with the European Union. But these people believe that


the future of Ukraine lies to the west, and they blame their president


for holding them back. Our reporter joins us now live. I


hope you can hear me. People still out in force. Give us an account of


what is going on. That is correct. It is bitterly


cold, but despite that there are thousands of people here on


Independence Square. They have been listening to music and political


speeches. They are determined to keep in this square as the focal


point of their protest. Some people here will probably spend the night.


Last night, people lit fires to keep themselves warm. It is bitterly


cold, but this is the centre of the protest. There were attempts to


surround the government building today to make sure that no


government officials could get inside the building. The protesters


feel their demands should be met. The president seems to be taking a


relaxed view of this? He is going ahead with a visit abroad?


That is correct. Had speculation that perhaps Viktor Yanukovich would


cancel his trip to China, but he is due to leave tomorrow. That would


suggest that he is confident about his position here. He gave an


interview to a number of Ukrainian television channels earlier today


and said that everyone had the right to express their own opinion, as


long as that was done peacefully. He said the opposition, the authorities


and police all had to abide by the law of the state. He called on the


opposition to work with the authorities to identify people whom


he said had provoked Coble during the recent mass protests.


How far do you get the impression that these protests are being


managed and directed by the opposition? Or is this real people


power we are witnessing? There is a degree of management


year, but I think there is also deep disappointment amongst people who


are gathering on the square at the disillusionment when it became clear


that there are president was not going to signed this historic deal


with the European Union to move Ukraine politically closer to


Europe. Some people in the east of the country are upset, but many


people in Kiev and in the West are very angry. This country is deeply


divided and not everyone wants closer ties with the US. Many people


-- with the European Union. Many people in the east of the country


feel closer to Russia. They are worried about breaking important


economic ties with Moscow. Thank you. The atmosphere slightly


reminds you of a rock concert at the moment, seeming fairly peaceful.


Thailand's Prime Minister has rejected a demand from protesters


that she should resign and hand over power to an unelected people's


council. Yingluck Shinawatra says that would be unconstitutional. The


premier says she's still open to talks but on the streets there is an


uglier mood, with security forces using rubber bullets and tear gas


against demonstrators. Bangkok's battle grounds. Year in


the streets of the old Royal Quarter, two sides are slugging it


out in a conflict which keeps coming back to the city. On one side, a


government that cannot be beaten in elections. On the other, a movement


set on bringing it down through the power of protest. Every so often,


they think there is a breakthrough. They are trying to take the Prime


Minister's office. A symbolic privacy is not actually there. But


the gate as well fortified. Every surge is met by clouds of tear gas.


Undeterred, they began ringing up an assortment of improvised weapons,


hoping to score a hit or at least unnerve the watching police. This is


their final attempt to push back these lines. They're hoping they can


push their way through. So far they have not managed to push through


police lines. After nine days of this, you have two ask, what is the


point? The government will not resign. Was a big majority in


parliament, it doesn't have to. But such is the Prime Minister -- such


is the animosity towards the Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and


her family, some people believe they have to take to the streets. Towards


the end of the day, they brought in a new weapon. Things really kicked


off. Rockets, home-made bombs, tear gas, lighting up the sky. The fight


is being led by hard-line student groups now. Perhaps this time, they


will breakthrough. And if they do, then what?


We are joined by a former American ambassador to Ukraine. Can street


power be effective in deciding what the political outcome is? Well, yes


it can, and it can in Ukraine. Viktor Yanukovich has seen this


before. In 2004, the Orange Revolution basically call the


government to schedule a new election after a fraudulent


election. Argues suggesting that when we look at this debate of


Moscow against the European Union and their offerings for Ukraine,


this is a street battle? Hopefully this is not a fight and it stays


peaceful between Viktor Yanukovich, the opposition and the protest is on


the street. They are there for two reasons. One is because there is


this desire on a significant part of Ukrainian population to align


themselves closer to Europe. They were unhappy when Viktor Yanukovich


said he would suspend preparations for signing a deal with the EU.


Second play, more blood was spilled this weekend and people are not


happy. The Ukrainians took pride in 2004 that they could do this


peacefully. People have come out in a backlash against that use of force


on Saturday morning. In Thailand, the military is taking a back-seat.


What is your assessment of any violence potential in Ukraine? The


military in Ukraine is largely conscript. The action was taken by


the ministry of interior specialist units provoked a special reaction.


At the police has been largely absence today. It might be an


acknowledgement from Viktor Yanukovich that the use of force


will be counter-productive. His options are becoming more narrow. If


he cannot risk a harsh crackdown, as you are suggesting, he also cannot


be seen to be caving in to the opposition, can he? We will have to


see. He has had a phone conversation earlier today with the president of


the European Commission were he has asked about engaging in negotiation.


The questionnaires, can he get into some sort of dialogue that begins to


answer some of the concerns you see from the protesters on the street.


How far can the opposition capitalise on this? The opposition


is trying to take advantage of the people on the street who just want


Europe. They will have to work together for a coherent message. The


question is, can they get in to some sort of dialogue with the President.


That is his best way out. At least 100,000 dead in the Syrian


conflict, many of them innocent civilians, and many others injured,


raped and abused. There can be no impunity for such crimes, says the


international community. Now the United Nations Human Rights


Commissioner Navi Pillay has for the first time directly implicated


President Bashar al-Assad in alleged war crimes and crimes against


humanity in Syria. She said investigations by her staff had


uncovered evidence leading all the way to the top of the Syrian


government. They have produced massive evidence.


They find the facts. Based on that, in their report, they have outlined


their view that the facts point to the commission of very serious war


crimes, crimes against humanity. They point to the fact that the


evidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of government,


including the head of state. That was Navi Pillay. We


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